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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Virginia Foxx and the Epic Fail 

Virginia Foxx took over the Watauga GOP last spring, installing her paid employee, Aaron Whitener, as chair and running off the Republican worker bees who didn't agree with her.

The Republicans recruited to run in the Boone municipal elections today (or not recruited, as the case may be) were completely shut out in the election (see results down-column).

But not, as it turns out, without the following stroke of tactical brilliance on the part of the Foxx-paid party leadership: We began to hear this morning from Democrats who were getting robo-calls from a young man who did not identify himself other than to say he was calling on behalf of the Watauga Republican Party, urging the recipient of the call to go vote for the Republican team. And he obligingly named the candidates for mayor and all the Republicans running for council. These calls were happening this morning, after voting had commenced. If they were also underway earlier, when they might have actually produced some benefit, we didn't hear about it.

We repeat ... registered Democrats got these calls. Which served in at least one case to get an apathetic Democrat up off the couch to get dressed and to go in and vote -- armed with the information from the robo-call of who NOT to vote for.

But this is the best part: the robo-call urged citizens to vote for four Republican candidates for council, in what was a three-way race. Did the leadership of the party not realize that the candidate who got 62 votes had actually pulled out weeks ago?

No ... I take it back. This is the best part: Rep. Virginia Foxx is on record opposing political robo-calls. In fact, she's introduced legislation to ban them outright.

When they're used this ineptly, she's absolutely right.

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Boone Election Results 

For Mayor
Loretta Clawson 787
Tim Wilson 474
John Mena 237

For Town Council
Jamie Leigh 937
Rennie Brantz 884
Andy Ball 828
Matthew Long 510
Harold Frazier 492
Grant Holder 189
Thomas Wilhite 62

Mayor Clawson is reelected for a 4-year term. Jamie Leigh and Rennie Brantz are both elected for 4-year terms, with Andy Ball taking the 2-year term.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Templeton Loses in Court (Again) 

Back a year ago, Superior Court Judge Ronald Payne ruled against the Town of Boone and said Phil Templeton could build his medical clinic in the single-family neighborhood of VFW Drive. The Town of Boone appealed that ruling. (Another Templeton lawsuit, challenging Boone's steep slope development ordinance, was thrown out of court earlier this year.)

Yesterday the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that Judge Payne erred in substituting his judgment for the Boone Board of Adjustments: "The Superior Court was not free to find facts in place of the Board of Adjustment; its function was to determine whether the Board of Adjustment's findings were supported by competent evidence in the record before it." The Appeals Court noted that Judge Payne at one point declared that he himself planned to visit the proposed construction site (though whether he ever did that is unclear).

The Boone Board of Adjustments erred in not making a formal finding of fact, though the BOA had "substantial evidence" before it opposing the Templeton special use request, and so the case is remanded back to the Boone BOA so that a finding of fact can be made.

Once the BOA does that, it's possible that Templeton could appeal again. However, the Court of Appeal's opinion essentially holds that the record contains sufficient evidence to support denial of the permit, and that would seem to destroy Templeton's procedural arguments. So, assuming that the Board adopts sufficient findings on remand, Templeton should have little ammunition for another appeal.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Head Scratcher 

The Watauga Conservative reports this a.m. that the Republicans will have candidates filing to run in the Boone municipal elections in November, but one of the two names mentioned is actually registered as a Democrat, according to the State Board of Elections. And wrong again on the party affiliation of the supposed Democrat who is running against Mayor Clawson. He's actually registered Unaffiliated.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Now That the Voting’s Over... 

The Watauga County Board of Elections was loudly criticized for scheduling the liquor-by-the-drink vote yesterday. They were accused of conspiring to deprive Appalachian State University students of their rights, because the BOE set the date of the liquor election "a full week before classes resume at Appalachian." David Mofford, the president of the ASU Student Government Association (who is incidentally registered to vote in Catawba County), was particularly colorful: " not allow students their right to vote is nothing short of a deprivation of democracy."

Whoa, dude. The BOE acted according to the law. How did it "not allow students their right to vote"? When an ASU student registers to vote in Watauga County, that student is declaring Watauga County his/her legal residence for voting purposes, and it's that voter's responsibility to deal with any inconveniences attendant on a special election date. There are a couple of legal remedies: request an absentee ballot, take advantage of more than two weeks of early voting, or make sure you're "home" on election day. The rest of us registered voters take care of these details, rescheduling vacations, writing in for an absentee ballot, setting the alarm clock.

In other words, grow up.

For students to yell "deprivation of democracy" because they've, uh, "gone home" for the summer waves a red flag about where "home" really is and furthermore sounds like whining, because it is whining, and gives aid and comfort to those people who don't want students voting at all. The Supreme Court settled the issue of where students may declare residence for purposes of voting, though the local Republican Party has a permanent case of indigestion over it. Students crying over the "inconvenience" of a special election date gives ammunition to those who really would disenfranchise you, especially in a year when Barack Obama is running.

Having said that, the people pushing for liquor by the drink were not at all confident in the outcome yesterday, which is why they too criticized the BOE for the chosen date of the election. They thought they might need the student vote. The BOE actually did them a favor, since with the referendum passing easily – and without major student involvement – their victory is much less open to the carping and backbiting that would have followed a student-fueled voter turn-out. If you catch my drift.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wets Win Boone Liquor Vote a blow-out.

1,106 for liquor
408 against

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Monday, August 18, 2008

What the Boone Area Planning Commission Ought to Say 

To Appalachian State University, seeking another rezoning so it can build a development that will impact another residential area of the town of Boone...

The planning commissioners ought to say:

Sorry, but we won't be rezoning any more properties until there's a town-gown master plan, a master plan which ASU promised it would work on in cooperation with the town.

Instead of a master plan that both town and university can agree on and adhere to we get more ad hoc, spur of the moment demands for major changes that catch neighborhoods off-guard and create situations that clearly benefit one party only.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Boone Town Council Appealing Templeton Ruling 

The Boone Town Council voted -- unanimously -- Thursday night to go forward to the NC Court of Appeals challenging the Superior Court judge's ruling July 3 in the proposed Templeton medical clinic development on State Farm Road.

We'll summarize the arguments in the appeal when those documents become available.

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